Your interior design business may not need a website after all

If someone told you to stick a needle in your eye, would you? Of course not. That would hurt. So why do we blindly accept everyone’s opinions on other topics such as whether or not your interior design business needs a website? I think it’s because we don’t understand or have enough knowledge about the subject to draw our own conclusion, so we fold in with the masses.

Regardless, that’s not a good reason to run out and have a website built. Your business is unique so you must come to your own conclusion, same as the designer down the street or across town. They too must come to their own conclusions.

It’s time to gather some intel on the subject. Keep reading and you will become crystal clear on your answer to “Do I really need a website?” and if so, why.

Your Goals

Each business has their own goals and objectives. Common business goals are:

  • To grow the business
  • To attract better clients (eg. better clients with bigger budgets, better clients with higher profit projects)
  • To ensure business continuity – especially during economic downturns
  • To retire or sell the business
  • No goals, they’re happy with the status quo (yikes!)

If you are happy with the status quo and have no goals or direction for your business, then you do not need a website. Stop reading now.

If you have goals, especially if you want to grow the business and/or attract better clients and clients with bigger budgets, you need a website.

You Need A Website

The way customers are looking for local businesses has evolved in recent years. Gone are the days of newspaper and magazine ads, flyers and radio commercials as the sole marketing method. You must have a website in order to compete. Here’s why…

  • Customers expect it
  • To communicate via email
  • Social media needs a home-base
  • Google will reward you

Customers Expect It

Prospective customers expect you to have a website so they can begin learning about you. Even if the prospect is a referral from a previous customer, they still expect you to have a website to confirm that you’re credible and so they can perform their own due diligence.

Your Business is Being Judged

Like it or not, 75% of website visitors admit to making judgments about a company’s credibility based on their website’s design. So, not only do they expect you have a website, it better reflect your company in a way they deem credible (high-quality, professional, articulate).

Mobile Responsive

A mobile responsive website looks great on any size mobile device and is easy to read without having to pinch, expand and scroll sideways.

It probably won’t surprise you to learn that over 50% of all local searches are performed from a mobile phone. But did you know that 50% of mobile users searching for a local business like yours, will visit the store within one day?

Think about it, someone interested in a home remodel is searching on their mobile phone, found you in the Google search results, visited your website and you have a 50% chance they visit your showroom within a day!

What the study doesn’t reveal are the other factors that played into the person deciding to visit the store, showroom or model. Remember, you’re being judged by your website so we can assume the mobile user needs to find your website crediblein order find you credible. If they have to pinch, expand and scroll sideways because your site is old and not suited for a mobile device, your credibility is immediately diminished.

Communicate through Email

Your website has many functions such as to create awareness and to provide information like your phone number, the type of remodeling you specialize in and directions to your showroom or office.

trust meterOne primary function of your website is to capture email addresses from visitors so you can control the communication and begin to build trust by providing value to them.

But who reads email anymore?

According to Statistica, over 85% of adults still send or read email. This means, unlike social media where your customer may scroll right past your post, email marketing is more effective because users are more likely to get and read your message. People stop using social media all the time, they rarely close their email account.

Over 85% of adults still send or read email.

Since remodeling contractors aren’t chosen overnight, you have time to build trust and instill confidence in your prospects instead of annoying them with awkward sales calls.

For example, you can send articles from your blog answering burning questions they have such as:

“What is the process and how long does it take?”

“I have a painting I love, can it be included in the project?”

“Can I use my kitchen during a remodel?”

“What’s the difference between granite and laminate countertop?

The list goes on and on.

When you send valuable information to a prospect, their trust meter moves in the right direction and they become more and more confident that choosing you for the job is the right decision.

After building some trust by sending a few value rich emails, you could send an email inviting them to your showroom or schedule a consultation at their home.

Email communication with prospects is win-win strategy. Your prospects trust you more and you don’t have to lift a finger.

Social Media Needs A Home-Base

social media icons

It’s not uncommon for business owners to think “I have a Facebook page so I don’t need a website”.

Actually, social media and your website have different purposes. They are both parts of the digital marketing ecosystem and work together as a part of your overall strategy, but have different purposes.

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social platforms engage and attract your customers and direct them to your website. Social even has the ability to target your ideal customer, through postings, sharing and ads, but their job is to attract, not nurture and build trust.

Your website is the ultimate destination. You want customers to consider your website your home-base, where all of your content lives.

And of course, as mentioned above, a place for customers to provide their email so you can communicate with them directly.

Besides, what happens if Mark Zuckerberg decides to change how businesses can operate on Facebook. Ooooops! That already happened. You have total control of your website. You have very limited control of social media.

Google Will Reward You

We already know customers are searching online for a business like yours, probably from their mobile phone. The question is, will Google reward you by including your business information in the customer’s search results? It depends.

Below are the keyfactors Google considers when rendering search results. Notice your website is the first one. The remaining factors require your website address in order for Google to consider them effectively.

  • Your Website
  • Google My Business
  • Social Media
  • Reviews
  • Business Directories
  • Backlinks

From a bird’s eye view, here’s a brief description of Google’s key local SEO ranking factors:

Your website

  • Do you have a website?
  • Is it mobile responsive?
  • Does it contain appropriate keywords?
  • Are there regular content updates?
    + Google points for every “yes”.

Your Google My Business

Have you claimed your Google My Business listing? If so, is it optimized with your website URL, photos and key information?
Does it accurately reflect your business category, address, and phone number?
If “yes”, + Google points.

Your business location

Your address must be included in various places including your website. Google will check to see if your location is near the searcher’s location and if so, add Google points.

Social Media

Is your business on social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn?
If “yes”, + Google Points. If you’re actively posting and engaging on social media, + more Google points!

Reviews

Do you have online reviews and are they mostly positive?
If “yes”, + Google points.

Business Directories

Are you listed in a variety of online directories such as Houzz, Yelp!, Better Business Bureau and Angie’s List? Especially directories that your competitor is listed in?
Are the listings optimized and do they consistently reflect your name, address, and phone number?
You guessed it, + Google points if you answer “yes”.

Backlinks

Is your website address referenced on credible sites, especially ones in your industry, such as the local chapter of your ASID (American Society of Interior Designer), your local chamber of commerce and home builder’s association? Do you know where you competitor has backlinks and if so, are you there too?
If yes, + Google points.

Google Points

The Google 3-Pack
The Google 3-Pack

OK Google doesn’t really keep “points” per se. It’s just an analogy to easily understand how Google determines who is going to show up on page 1 of search results. If you have high Google points you may be rewarded on page 1 and maybe, just maybe in the highly sought after 3-pack!

The highly sought after Google 3-PackAs you can see, there are keys to getting in good with Google. In most cases, your website address is needed, as is the case to complete the business listings you’re included in.

There are LOADS more factors related to Google’s search algorithm and a mind-numbing array of intricacies weaved into each. And, it changes on a regular basis. What I included above are the essential areas every remodeling business should be set up with, in addition to a mobile responsive, keyword-rich website in order to effectively compete in searches.

Conclusion

Now you’re equipped with the knowledge to confidently answer the question “Does my business need a website?”. If the answer is “yes” and you don’t have one, or you do have one but it’s outdated or not mobile responsive, begin exploring your options to having one professionally designed and built.

It’s important to take time to find the right solution for your needs rather than dive into the first easy and cheap option that comes along. Gather some good intel, weigh your options with purpose and be sure the solution you choose will support your needs effectively, now and in the future.

Whether you build a cheap and easy website yourself or hire a professional, it still takes your time and effort so better to do it right once rather than choose the wrong option and have to do it twice (once for the epic fail and again to do it right).


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